Nuclear Issues

804 Items

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Paper - Institute for Nuclear Materials Management

IAEA Nuclear Security Recommendations (INFCIRC/225): The Next Generation

In 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released the fifth revision of its Nuclear Security Recommendations on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities. This update of IAEA nuclear security guidance was a significant improvement upon its predecessors, suggesting new and strengthened approaches to nuclear security in a range of areas. Nearly a decade later, however, the global nuclear security landscape has changed. Nuclear security regulations and practices have improved. International institutions and norms supporting global nuclear security architecture are stronger. Countries have made new political commitments to strengthening their nuclear security. Legally binding agreements are more widely subscribed than they were before. Meanwhile, new global threats have surfaced, presenting new challenges to physical protection systems. A range of emerging technologies creates new opportunities, but also new risks.

President Donald Trump speaks during a listening session with African-American leaders at Ford's Rawsonville Components Plant that has been converted to making personal protection and medical equipment, Thursday, May 21, 2020, in Ypsilanti, Mich.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

The History of Negotiating With North Korea: How Trump Will Rate Compared to His Predecessors

| May 19, 2020

I do not think it’s likely that Kim Jong-un will conduct another test of ICBMs—since Trump had repeatedly drawn a bright red line there. Kim Jong-un and his experts would rightly be worried that were they to cross this line, especially in an election season, Trump would respond by attacking North Korean ICBM launch sites—as he’s signaled he would do. 

Nuclear test

Creative Commons/Pixabay

Report - American Nuclear Policy Initiative

Blundering Toward Nuclear Chaos

| May 2020

Edited by former Project on Managing the Atom (MTA) Associate Jon Wolfsthal and featuring papers authored by Wolfsthal and MTA Associate Nickolas Roth, this report from the American Nuclear Policy Initiative details the Trump administration's first three years of efforts on nuclear proliferation, strategic stability, nuclear modernization, Iran, and North Korea. The authors provide an objective summary of nuclear policy under the current administration and its record on protecting the United States and its allies against perhaps the greatest national security danger facing humanity.

A tractor works the land on a farm in front of a nuclear power plant in Doel, Belgium, Monday, March 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

How to Keep Nuclear Power Plants Operating Safely During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic devastates the world, nuclear power plants must remain safe and secure to provide electricity for food supply chains, emergency response teams, hospitals, and telecommunications in countries home to more than half of all people. Meanwhile, the Islamic State terror group has already announced its intent to exploit the pandemic, and other violent extremist organizations are also taking pains to use the crisis for their own purposes.

Testimony

Public Testimony on Trump Administration Funding for Nuclear Theft Preventing Programs

| Mar. 31, 2020

A nuclear explosion detonated anywhere by a terrorist group would be a global humanitarian, economic, and political catastrophe. The current COVID-19 pandemic reminds us not to ignore prevention of and preparation for low-probability, high-consequence disasters. For nuclear terrorism, while preparation is important, prevention must be the top priority. The most effective strategy for keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists is to ensure that nuclear materials and facilities around the world have strong and sustainable security. Every president for more than two decades has made strengthening nuclear security around the globe a priority. This includes the Trump administration, whose 2018 Nuclear Posture Review states: “[n]uclear terrorism remains among the most significant threats to the security of the United States, allies, and partners.”

A satellite view of Shigatse, Tibet, home to the PLA’s 6th Border Defense Regiment, near the China-India border.

Maxar Technologies / CNES Airbus via Google, used with permission

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

The Strategic Postures of China and India: A Visual Guide

| March 2020

Fueled by aggressive rhetoric from both capitals, Indian and Chinese ground forces engaged in a standoff between June and August 2017. The Doklam crisis, as it became known, stimulated introspection among officials and experts in both states about the future of their relationship. Politically, both strategic communities largely concluded that the peaceful resolution of border disputes is now less likely, forecasting more rivalry than cooperation. Militarily, Indian discussions on the strength of its military position against China in their disputed ground frontier areas have converged on the view that China holds the conventional and nuclear edge over India in this domain.

Based on our analysis of data on the location and capabilities of Indian and Chinese strategic forces and related military units, we conclude that this assessment of the balance of forces may be mistaken and a poor guide for Indian security and procurement policies. We recommend that instead of investing in new nuclear weapons platforms that our analysis suggests are not likely to be required to deter China, New Delhi should improve the survivability of its existing forces and fill the gap in global arms control leadership with an initiative on restraint and transparency.

An Iranian security guard walks past a gate of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran in 2010 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi).

AP Photo/Vahid Salemi

Paper - International Atomic Energy Agency

The Need for Creative and Effective Nuclear Security Vulnerability Assessment and Testing

| February 2020

Realistic, creative vulnerability assessment and testing are critical to finding and fixing nuclear security weaknesses and avoiding over-confidence. Both vulnerability assessment and realistic testing are needed to ensure that nuclear security systems are providing the level of protection required. Systems must be challenged by experts thinking like adversaries, trying to find ways to overcome them. Effective vulnerability assessment and realistic testing are more difficult in the case of insider threats, and special attention is needed. Organizations need to find ways to give people the mission and the incentives to find nuclear security weaknesses and suggest ways they might be fixed. With the right approaches and incentives in place, effective vulnerability assessment and testing can be a key part of achieving and sustaining high levels of nuclear security.

President Obama at the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Paper - International Atomic Energy Agency

Assessing Progress on Nuclear Security Action Plans

| February 2020

Participants at the final Nuclear Security Summit in 2016 agreed on “action plans” for initiatives they would support by five international organizations and groups—the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, INTERPOL, the United Nations, and the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Destruction. These institutions were supposed to play key roles in bolstering ongoing nuclear security cooperation after the summit process ended. The action plans were modest documents, largely endorsing activities already underway, and there have been mixed results in implementing them. To date, these organizations have not filled any substantial part of the role once played by the nuclear security summits.